Dan Rubin: We woke on Monday with a bad feeling after the weekend. Basketball is getting closer and closer to a winless season after a really rough game against Wake Forest, and outside of baseball's season-opening sweep, the fans are starting to really lose it.
Then all of a sudden, the announcement of announcements! BC announces facilities improvements, including a field house/indoor practice facility for the football program. AJ - I've never been this excited about something I'll probably never set foot inside because I'm not a member of the program! How are you feeling?
AJ Black: This is awesome. Look I get that people are apprehensive because past projects have dragged on, and that it took too long for this to be announced, but this is absolutely huge for the football program. A game changer. Football facilities have been in the lower half for BC for years, as other programs were making changes, but now BC is going to be right up there with them.
Will this be to the level of Clemson/FSU? Absolutely not. But if you are going to set their facilities as the bar you want BC to reach, I can tell you now that you are rooting for the wrong school. It will never happen.
What this is going to give BC is another selling point to recruits. Coaches can now tell recruits that they will have facilities on par with most other schools. That is going to get the attention of high school kids, and I bet this is going to pay off with some higher ranked recruits
Dan---you're the baseball guy around here. What is a new stadium going to mean to that program?
Dan: It shatters the glass ceiling. I'll admit that when I started covering BC baseball, I didn't realize the depth of the rebuilding process Mike Gambino took over and blamed him for the struggles. People always pointed to the ‘09 and ‘10 teams as being gold standards, but there were underlying problems within the program that he had to deal with. I didn't realize that until I broke things down over a five year span and saw how he had to "weather the storm" of that stretch. It took him a couple of years to work through some real issues with the program, almost as if he built it from the ground up. He's done that, and if you look at the growth since 2012 or 2013, there's been real progress. In looking into the numbers, I was wrong and I'm incredibly impressed with the job he's done. To an extent, I get it now moreso than I did back then.
He's done all of that without real facilities, almost like the Moneyball Oakland Athletics. Now there stands a chance to get indoor batting cages and real training grounds for the team, plus a beautiful stadium. That's going to be huge on the recruiting trail. It won't necessarily benefit all of the players in the current program, but if we're looking down the road to the recruiting classes of 2018 or 2019, the rest of the ACC is going to be forced into taking notice. And that has a way of trickling back to the excitement felt by players who helped build the foundation on which that stadium is constructed.
Like you mention, though, it doesn't mean BC is going to start competing with the Clemsons or Louisvilles or Florida States, and that includes baseball. But if it means bringing in recruits over Notre Dame or Wake Forest, it's going to be a huge assist in pushing BC up towards the next level.
AJ - people love criticizing Brad Bates for the struggles of the current programs. The football schedule, attendance, the dearth of wins this year - they all fell at his feet in the eyes of our commenters and fans. Weighing his setup for the future, with P5 scheduling, tailgating on Brighton, and now the IPF, how does he grade out in retrospect? I know we could probably do a whole post on it, but what are your initial, knee-jerk reactions?
AJ: I still need to see more out of Bates. I am happy that we are starting to see the growth in those areas, but still it is going at the snail's pace that BC seems to always be mired in.
In terms of out of conference scheduling, I am happy to see him grab Purdue (and I like a sprinkling of UConn in there), but I would love to see a marquee name in there as well to balance out the future matchups of Notre Dame, and Ohio State.
Tailgating on Brighton is a nice touch, so he gets credit for that, but then again tailgating in general is still horribly overpriced, with inadequate hours.
The IPF should have been planned years ago, so that isn't on him, but boy am I glad that it's coming. When I see shovels in the dirt, Bates will get all the credit for that.
Basically to wrap up this long winded answer, I'm happy that Bates gets for the most part what BC fans are looking for, and he seems to be trying to fix many of those, but still there is a ton of work to be done in all those areas. That is where Bates should be judged.
Dan, I talked a little about it earlier, but what will this new IPF do in terms of football recrootin'?
Dan: I don't know if it means BC will improve the type of athlete they're going after, simply because I can't wave a magic wand and see what type of kid the coaches want. But they shouldn't lose the guys they do go after.
I don't think BC will ever start competing for the same athlete as Clemson or Florida State because the school itself is far too different academically, and even putting in facilities won't change that. Plus if BC plays a different style of football, you need to recruit players for your style, who you think will be the right guy. What I do believe is that players who commit will be less likely to decommit or listen to other offers because BC will be much more competitive in their infrastructure.
There's a lot of unknown in the marketplace right now, with the Big 12 considering expansion. Syracuse is in your league, Rutgers went to the Big Ten, and it's becoming more and more likely that UConn will eventually wind up as a target when the next round comes along. At some point, that saturation splits your competitive advantage unless you do something to keep up. Building assures BC will remain the power player in the Northeast and it assures that facilities won't be the reason they lose out on recruits to other comparable P5 schools.
AJ - Conte Forum was left out of the plans. Is that good, bad, or indifferent to you?
AJ: I'm kind of indifferent to it right now. With the new(ish) scoreboard in Conte, I feel like things are fine for now. It's still a good spot to watch a hockey game, and a basketball game if you want to torture yourself. I think some cosmetic things BC could do, would be to improve the food options (which are terrible), and maybe some touch ups to the Power Gym for practicing. Other than that, I don't think that should be a priority right now.
No Huddle Offense:
AJ: Dan, when do you think BC will break grounds on the "Field House"?
Dan: I'm guessing it'll take a year or so. The rec plex has to be torn down before they start building the field house. I wouldn't be shocked for it to take a year to get ready. The key is getting the Flynn rec torn down as fast as possible. Then again, I'm not an engineer, so what do I know? I wouldn't listen to what I have to say on that one.
As a former student, what's your fondest memory from the rec plex or Edmonds Hall - the two buildings that are replaced by the project?
AJ: I was actually an RA in Edmonds, and there were tons of great memories there. I have numerous ones of some pretty big name athletes, but can't share them. Let's just say I was a very very lenient RA.
Finally, Dan---the name of the new facility will be......
Dan: The Dan Dome...
I honestly have no idea on the field house, but I would love to see the baseball/softball fields named after the Frates family. There's nobody else who deserves the name of the BC baseball stadium more than Pete.